We know journalists are busy, and it can be difficult to keep up with recent AP Stylebook changes. So we’ve done the work for you, rounding up a few of the recent significant — and just plain interesting — updates to the AP Stylebook.
Boycott or Embargo?
According to AP Style, a boycott is an organized refusal to buy a product or service, or to deal with a merchant or group of merchants.
An embargo is a legal restriction against trade that typically prohibits goods from entering or leaving a country. Embargoes is the correct plural.
The term cyberattack is routinely overused in news stories, according to the AP Stylebook team.
Cyberattack should be used to describe an event that “causes physical damage or widespread disruption of a network with catastrophic results.”
If the computer action results in limited or short-term problems, hacking or computer intrusion should be used to describe it.
A chat on Feb. 12 provided some helpful reminders for love and relationship terminology.
- Always include an apostrophe in Valentine’s Day. Why? The day honors a saint martyred in third-century Rome.
- However, couples exchange valentines (lowercase, no apostrophe).
- Carat is the weight of precious stones. Be careful not to use karat, a proportion of pure gold used with an alloy; caret — a proofreading mark; or carrot — the veggie.
- For joint ownership, use the possessive form after only the last word: Chase and Rocky’s puppy.
- There’s no need for accent marks in fiance (man) and fiancee (woman).
STEM is acceptable on the first reference.
Write out the full phrase science, technology, engineering, and math shortly thereafter.
This was a new addition to the Stylebook Online for 2018.
Baloney vs. Bologna
Baloney is foolish or exaggerated talk.
Bologna is the sausage or lunch meat. It’s named after the city in Italy, which is spelled the same but pronounced “boh-LOAN-ya.” The Americanized pronunciation is “buh-LOAN-ee.”
Feel like diving deeper into this one? Here you go.
The following months should be abbreviated when used with a specific date: Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec.
If the month is used alone or with a year alone, spell out the full month.
Gambling and Gaming
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in May 2018 that states could decide for themselves whether to allow gambling on sports.
- Odds should be written with figures and a hyphen: She won despite 3-2 odds against her. Although “to” isn’t necessary, it should also be included with hyphens if used: the odds were 3-to-2.
- Avoid using the terms favorite, underdog, and upset if they aren’t in line with what betting markets say.
- Sportsbook is one word. It’s used to describe places, in person or online, where sports bets are accepted.
- Generally, “gambling” is preferred to “gaming.” “Gaming” should only be used in direct quotes, proper names or in reference to video games.
Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place during the week of Jan. 7. AP Stylebook took the time to remind followers of the differences between these two technologies.
- AP Stylebook defines virtual reality as “a computer-generated simulation of an interactive, three-dimensional environment” that allows interaction through the use of headsets, hand-held controllers and other electronic equipment.
- On the other hand, augmented reality projects interactive computer-generated images into a person’s actual surroundings.
- VR and AR are acceptable after the first reference.
Still confused? Me too. This video helps.
Lowercase winter solstice and summer solstice, the shortest and longest days of the year, respectively.
Seasons should also be lowercase: winter, spring, summer, and fall.
Strait-laced or straight-laced?
Use strait-laced when referring to confinement, like a corset or straitjacket.
Straight-laced is the correct use when describing a person who is strict or severe in their behavior and/or moral views.
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Rocky Parker works in Audience Relations at PR Newswire. Check out her previous posts for Beyond Bylines. When she’s not working, Rocky typically can be found cooking, binge watching a new show, or playing with her puppy, Hudson.